The Tokyo Sustainable Seafood Symposium (TSSS) is an annual event focused on seafood sustainability in Japan and beyond. Its fifth event, TSSS 2019, was held in Tokyo on 7 and 8 November 2019, and Skadia Technologies participated in this event to learn about the Japanese sustainable seafood initiatives and network with local and global stakeholders. The event was the largest ever in its history with over 100 speakers and 1000 attendees and was the biggest sustainable seafood conference in Asia.

Some of the important topics of discussion at the TSSS 2019 include 1) Japan’s new Fisheries Reform Act and revitalising coastal fishing communities, 2) corporate efforts in achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through supply chain transparency and ethical consumption, 3) promotion of sustainability certifications (such as MSC and ASC) and 4) best practice examples of Fisheries Improvement Projects (FIPs).

It was encouraging to witness the enthusiasm of many Japanese fishers to improve the sustainability of the fishing industry and make it attractive to younger generations. Several new FIPs are starting in Japan with the ultimate aim of gaining MSC certification, and many of these FIPs are collaborations between the fishing industry and non-industry stakeholders such as NGOs. Tokyo Olympics is pushing suppliers and distributors to provide more MSC and ASC-certified seafood, and some of the large distributors such as AEON is responding to this push by obtaining MSC’s Chain of Custody (CoC) certification. Companies are also educating their employees about sustainable and ethical consumption through the introduction of MSC-certified seafood in their company cafeterias.

In one session focused on seabird bycatch issues in longline tuna fisheries, the speakers highlighted that the incomplete compliance with RMFOs’ rules on using designated bycatch mitigation measures and the lack of compliance monitoring were the main obstacles in eliminating bycatch. A Skadia Technologies representative was able to have conversations with Japanese fishermen, NGOs and other stakeholders who were actively engaged in the bycatch issue, introduce the Underwater Bait setter, and continue to have conversations with them for accelerating the uptake of the Bait Setter in the Japanese market.

More reports and news from the TSSS 2019 can be found here: